It is common for there to be some confusion between certain millwork features. People often want to incorporate a wainscot in different rooms for added architectural interest… but seldom know what to call it. A wainscot was a term used in the 14th Century with a Germanic origin of fine oak… typically used for panels. The term was later made commonplace to mean “wood panels on walls”. In the US, especially in old New England colonial homes we can find traditional roots for this application that became a method to separate the animals from the living space… then to protect the soft plaster interiors; and evolved to became a way to add charm and beauty and protection from chairs and daily chores. There are many types of wainscot panels and the choice you make will likely be driven by aesthetics.